Tuesday, November 23, 2010
12-9-1: It Wasn't Pretty But ...
... the Rangers won at home. So at least we have that going for us.
The Calgary Flames came into the Garden on Monday night exhausted and emotionally drained after a hugely disappointing loss to Detroit on Sunday and yet were able to carry the action for much of the night. The Rangers started with a jump but didn't score and caved after that, allowing Calgary to dictate the play. The Blueshirts scored a pair of lucky goals and were able to make them stand up against a Flames squad that just couldn't get any flow going to their game.
Basically, the Rangers played a good road game, and escaped with two points. It wasn't pretty, it was hardly entertaining, but now the boys can head out of town on a high note. Not bad.
*Yes, both Ranger goals were soft. Boyle's unintentionally came off a defenseman's skate and Girardi's was a wide open shot that Kipper simply couldn't catch.
*All of the rough stuff came because Brent Sutter and Jarome Iginla insist on a high level of pride. Calgary may lose on the scoreboard but they will not be pushed around doing so. The Flames took exception to every hit they absorbed and it resulted in two fights and a scrum. All of those hits, by the way, were legal - even the initial boarding called on Mike Sauer and especially the one that knocked Matt Stajan out of the game.
*Curtis Glencross did not get his comeuppance after clocking Chris Drury, further showing how little the team cares about Dru. The only bit of revenge that was served was the power play goal scored on Glencross' second period penalty, but that didn't have the same impact as it was a soft goal allowed by Kipper.
*Depending on how you look at it, Derek Boogaard is either very good or very bad at what he does. After the third period fracas, Torts put the big man on the ice for the next shift. Boogey missed his first hit attempt by a few feet, tried to pick a fight, lumbered around a bit, was hit from behind, lumbered towards the bench, tried to pick a fight again and sat down for the rest of the night. On one hand, he couldn't get anyone to dance with him but, on the other, after that shift the Flames did not try to exact any extra revenge for the Staal/Stajan hit. Now, would Calgary have attempted to do that, down by just one goal in the third period? And that is why the question remains, what good is Boogaard?
*Martin Biron was not really forced to make many big saves but he got the job done. Considering there is something hugely wrong with Hank - you don't just decide to take the night off to 'practice some things' when you are a top-5 goaltender on the planet - having Biron come in and do the job was nice to see. But I will not cheer "Marty, Marty, Marty" in MSG. I don't care that it is a different Marty, one on our team who hasn't had relations with his wife's sister, but it is just not going to happen.
*Hey Cally, I know you saw Frolov score on a wrap-around against Minnesota but that move doesn't work 99% of the time. This isn't a video game, this is real life and a All-World goaltender like Miikka Kiprusoff isn't going to give up a goal that way. And is it a coincidence that after Cally was shafted by the scorer in Minnesota that the guy here in NY awarded him an astounding 11 hits? Hmmm ....
*Frolov, you suck. The Russian clearly has some offensive instincts, he just hasn't shown the drive or ability to capitalize on them. The same can almost be said for young Anisimov. Calgary played a tough, physical defense and Arty became invisible. While Frolov's day is done, there is still hope for Arty; let's hope he realizes that.
*Sean Avery saw the second least amount of ice time, getting just three shifts in each of the last two periods. Was Tortorella afraid that Avery would take a bad penalty? Was Tortorella afraid Avery wasn't defensively responsible enough to get more time in a tight game?
*MDZ didn't make many mistakes and had a quiet game, which is exactly what he needed. Perhaps it was because the Rangers had just two power plays or because it was a tight game but giving the youngster less than 20 minutes was a good thing - he still saw action but he didn't have to overextend himself. Another reason why MDZ saw last time was because Torts put Sauer and Gilroy out there more and they rewarded his faith with solid defense.
*Credit to Calgary for shutting down Gaborik completely and credit to the Rangers for winning anyway.
*Nice of the Rangers to have a remembrance of Pat Burns. In my opinion the true testament of a man is not the amount of love his friends and family have for him but the amount of respect he has earned from his enemies. Burns may have made the Blueshirts' lives miserable while with the Devils but he was a helluva coach.
*PHW Three Stars
3-Brian Boyle - one goal.
2-Dan Girardi - one goal and one assist.
1-Martin Biron - 31 saves.
Scotty Hockey Three Stars
3-Iginla - Can you imagine how good Iginla would be if he played on a real team?
2-Biron - The Islander didn't give up a single soft goal and gave the Rangers a chance to win - all you can ask for from your backup goaltender.
1-Staal - Girardi is getting all of the press for his two points but it was Staal who made several stellar defensive plays - laying out to break up a 2-on-1 being one of them - and it was Staal who had a beautiful open ice hit on Stajan.